Friday, July 22, 2011

BORDERS : Everything Passes, Everything Changes

Borders gonna close( Here). What will happen to the gigantic one they have as the doorway to the Madison Square Garden? What will happen to the one they have on the Magnificent Mile of Chicago? What will happen to the one they have at the middle of nowhere, by northbound I-90 in Florida? What about the one in one of the small airports?
What about the ones where my working man's soul discovered Richard Yates? or DC Comics? or New Yorker ? or Chuck Palanihuk and then bought it with a glee knowing that the grease of his dollar bill's been well spent as Borders with its coupon had the lowest (and well justified) price for a book.

Those stores, my bookstores(One in Deerfield,IL, one in Highland Park ) started to shut down somewhere from last year. Borders somehow chose to die like a slasher movie victim with each of its organs getting a well schemed maiming until liquid death fills up the screen.
And then came the final blow last Friday as my mailbox-in its nonchalant bits and bytes-showed the final coupon from Borders, an invitation to be the vulture on its dying body.
Almost like a living cliche from one of those movies where a letter, a page from a forgotten book or a news opens a long sequence of sepia colored flashback,I got all those vivid scenes playing at some quarter of my brain where teardrops are still a thing or two to consider.
Images of that long wooden staircase in Deerfield's store and it's mile long shelves of DVDs. Images of the overcrowded one at the footstep of the 'Garden' where I had to sit on the vent at the bottom of the windows when Manhattan flows like a turgid river on my back.
And images of a girl who once worked in now-dead Highland Park downtown's small yet extremely cozy Borders. Her earnestness in a 98% white area where none has seen an Asian working in customer service before, her last shift that ended at 10:30 on more than one January nights when mercury had an ungraceful fall to the floor,her small world filled up with new friends who would soon become jobless.

Time for a Kindle? Time for finding another bookstore which in its false elite ambiance would serve the same old book with price marked few notches higher? The wheel of capitalism marches on and next time my unmindful head makes me to take that turn on Seventh Ave, I know shapeless void of a bookstore will be waiting for me thru those large and dirty windows and doors where once life used to make an entry and an exit every other minute.
You flicker your unbelieving eyes--the emptiness fills up with many ghost crowds, ghost smells of new books, ghost sound of laughter and whisper and the mini-storm sound of a tired coffee machine. You flicker it again--and before midday's swamp of tourists gulps you like a small dot in a Pissaro painting---you realize, Borders is gone. Forever.

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